The physical demands required of the body to execute one of the most complex athletic skills are enormous (Lennon 1998, Sell et al 2007). The golf swing is a highly coordinated, multi-segment, rotational, closed chain activity that requires strength, explosive power, flexibility, speed and balance (Gordon et al 2009). Sell et al 2007 found that Elite golfers have been shown to possess more of these unique physical characteristics than standard golfers.
Several studies have identified major muscles and muscle groups that are most active during the golf swing and these include Gluteals, Quadriceps, deltoids, the rotator cuff, forearm extensors and flexors, abominals, obliques, pectorals, latissimus dorsi and trapezius (Pink et al 1985, Pink et al 1993, Jobe et al 1986, Belcher et al 1995). The importance of appropriate levels of range of movement and flexibility at specific joints and soft tissues in order to perform the golf swing optimally has been well documented (Gordon et al 2009).
The golf swing is a high-torque rotational movement for which the anatomy is poorly suited for a number of biomechanical reasons and involves resisting high lateral bending forces. The modern swing uses a large shoulder turn but restricts the hip turn to build torque in the muscles of the lower back and shoulders. The modern golf swing leads to greater angular displacement of the spine and is suspected as being a major source of injury for professional and amateur golfers.
The above information should give clues as to why injury prevalence amongst golfers is quite high and why certain parts of the body such as the lower back, wrist and shoulder are the most commonly injured areas. In order to perform and golf swing effectively and consistently it is important for that persons body to be strong, flexible, stable and prepared. This will help to maximise performance and minimise injury potential. Whilst everybody is unique and every swing is slightly different there are keys areas and overall methods of training and conditioning that all golfers can work on. Within the physio unit on the European tour we are regularly screening, assessing and creating management and performance plans to help the worlds best golfers achieve every percent of possible improvement in the game. The ETPI facilities in Terre Blanche (France) and Jumeirah estates (Dubai) enable golfers to continue this throughout the year when they are not out on tour. The ETPI facilities allow the amateur golfer to experience and benefit from the world class techniques, skills and level of service the players receive on tour them selves to help identify their problems, develop solutions and management plans to help them improve the performance, reduce injury potential and recover from any injuries.